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December ETF Inflows: Out With a Bang

By Michael Johnston, founder of ETF Database.

So much for a slow December.

The latest National Stock Exchange numbers are out, and December was one of the best months on record for the ETF industry.

Total cash inflows totaled nearly $30 billion, as investors flocked to domestic equities in the final month of the year.

Nearly every issuer saw a big jump in assets in December, led by State Street (STT), iShares and PowerShares.

Total ETF assets increased to $790.9 billion, an increase of more than 5% over November's totals.

Issuer Highlights

In dollar terms, State Street and iShares had the best month, as assets for these issuers increased by $14.8 billion and $11.6 billion, respectively.

But several of the industry's smaller players continued to post big gains as well. Global X saw assets grow by more than 600% following the launch of six sector-specific China ETFs on the month.

Several of the new funds had already accumulated major assets: Global X China (CHIX) had $32 million in assets while Global X China Industrials (CHII) closed the year at $26 million.

After leading the industry in cash inflows in December, Vanguard followed with a relatively weak December, taking in only $1.9 billion, the majority of which was attributable to Vanguard Emerging Markets Stock ETF (VWO).

Schwab (SCHW) also continued its steady push into the industry, launching two new funds and growing total assets by more than 140% for the month.

Among firms with under $1 billion in assets, seven posted month-over-month asset increases of more than 10%, including Emerging Global Advisors, PIMCO, RevenueShares, Greenhaven, and ALPS. Among the $1 billion-plus issuers, USCF (+17%), First Trust (+15%), and PowerShares (+11%) posted the biggest asset increases.
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